Mexico’s AMLO Says Conservatives Behind Women’s Protest Movement

(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his conservative opponents are behind a movement seeking to draw attention to violence against women, risking criticism for attacking a cause with growing sympathy in the country.

A string of gruesome femicides in the past few weeks has prompted a women’s movement to boycott workplaces and businesses across the country on March 9.

On Friday, Lopez Obrador said conservatives were behind the movement and cautioned the strike’s organizers to be wary of people who are using the cause as a pretext to attack his government.

Lopez Obrador has been criticized for his response to the latest high-profile femicide cases. Recently, protesters have gathered outside the National Palace to demand justice for two separate killings that shocked the country. Ingrid Escamilla, 25, and Fatima Aldrighetti, 7, were both brutally murdered earlier this month. Protesters have called on the president to present a plan to guarantee the protection of women and justice for victims.

“Femicides transcend politics, political parties; it’s not an issue about the right or left, or about ‘conservatives,’” said Valeria Moy, economist and director of the think tank ‘Mexico, Como Vamos’. “It’s a problem that afflicts the whole country. This has surpassed him, it surpassed all of us.”

The protest, called “A Day Without Women” is calling on women to boycott their workplaces and regular businesses. Several companies, schools and government offices have said they won’t penalize women who don’t show up to work that day.

During his morning presser on Friday, Lopez Obrador said it was clear ‘the right’ was involved in the movement. “Conservatives have now become feminists. And just as there are women who protest freely out of conviction, there are also opportunists.”

Moy said she has been surprised by the lack of empathy from the president. “The issue got out of his hands and he’s not budging one bit. He hasn’t been able to control the discourse and he’s angry.”

On Thursday, Lopez Obrador’s wife, Beatriz Gutierrez Muller, originally posted on Instagram in support of the strike. But hours later in another post, she encouraged women to go to work on the day the demonstration is planned.

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